Women’s rugby dominate in home opener

Gaels bounce back from opening game defeat with 57-12 win over Mustangs

Queen's wins a ruck before running a set piece.
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With jet planes flying over Nixon Field, the women’s rugby team put on a show of their own, blowing out the Western Mustangs with a score of 57-12.

“It was a really good effort, I thought we put in a pretty complete eighty minutes,” head coach Dan Valley said following his first OUA win in front of the home crowd.  

The Gaels came into the game looking for some revenge as well. Last year, they were defeated by the Mustangs in the OUA bronze medal game.

Although this matchup appeared to be a back and forth affair, Queen’s cemented their lead mid-way through the first half of the game. With the scores tied at 12, back row Sophie De Goede recorded her second try of the match to put Queen’s in the lead.

From there, the Gaels didn’t look back.

Soon after, player Kara Gani cemented the lead with a strong effort and finished off the try with a somersault — a signature move for the third year fly half. This put the Gaels up 26-12 after the conversion kick, giving the Nixon Field bleachers life as they pushed their team towards a much needed win.

As the game progressed, the Gaels were able to cycle in their younger talent, with numerous rookies making appearances. Two rookies started for Queen’s while three others entered the game later on, displaying coach Valley’s trust in his younger players.

“We’re learning very quickly that one of our strengths is our depth,” said Valley.

Through two games, rookie De Goede leads the way for the Gaels with 32 points.

Perhaps the most visible strength the Gaels put on display was their defence. Despite multiple deep pushes into the Gaels’ defensive zone, Queen’s showed plenty of resilience as they fended off their rivals. On multiple occasions the Mustangs were just yards away from scoring, only to be pushed away by a sea of tricolour jerseys.

When asked what he was most pleased with about the game, Valley said the Gaels didn’t commit a lot of errors.

“I thought we weathered the storm in the first twenty. Our set piece was dominant at scrum time for an entire eighty minutes. For things we need to work on, the biggest thing would be just to continue to fight. We got a little lateral in the second half and we made it work for the most part but I think we could be a little more direct and have our eyes focused on what the defenders are giving us,” said Valley.

“All in all, we’re moving in the right direction,” he continued.

At 1-1, the Gaels currently sit third in the OUA Shiels division. They will travel down the 401 this weekend to play against the York Lions on Saturday at 7 PM.  

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